An inspiring program for high school students blends national and world views
with cycling and leadership skills.
The Communities at Oshkosh North program has been inspiring high school student engagement for the past nine years with a mission to create a better community through content, communication, collaboration, commitment, creative thinking, and critical thinking. The enriching program is led by co-founder and Instructor, Rick Leib, along with four dedicated teachers and coaches.
Because this is a program and not a class, Oshkosh North High School students apply to be accepted for the 3-credit opportunity that alternates between a focus on US History one year and World Culture the other, as well as a semester of service. This year’s program includes approximately 80 students in the Freshman/Sophomore group and 70 students in the Junior/Senior group.
During the focus year on US History, discussions include transportation and bicycling. Over the years, Bike Fed’s Community Engagement Manager, Michelle Bachaus, has enjoyed providing bike-friendly safety lessons, too! As part of the experience, students and faculty take Saturday morning rides in 19 groups named for top bicycling communities and discuss what the cities are doing. The series concludes with a ride in Madison, renting bikes to ride around the capital city.
“Our bike projects have allowed our high school students to understand the power of a movement. Each year, this project has allowed our students to understand the economic, environmental and social power of a bike. Immersing our students into the biking culture has opened their eyes to what our community offers.” -Rick Leib, Instructor, Communities at Oshkosh North
As part of the US History theme, program participants host the popular BikeOsh – an event that promotes bike infrastructure, local businesses, and healthy living. This is the 5th year of the city-wide biking event which was started in 2016, but postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. Students have the opportunity to collaborate with City of Oshkosh Planners and the Bike/Pedestrian Advisory Committee to plan the event. Students also take responsibility to create an info sheet, ask for raffle donations, and coordinate 20 pit stops at locally-owned businesses, museums, and bike infrastructure locations.
This year’s BikeOsh 2022 takes place on Saturday, May 21st from 9am-12pm and everyone is invited! Besides the fun of riding around wonderful Oshkosh, participants can get a Pedal Pass online or at any of the pit stop locations on the day of the event with the chance to win prizes. Riders are encouraged to stop at as many pit stops as possible to get their Pedal Pass stamped, and finish at the South Park pavilion by noon to turn in their pass and hopefully take home a prize!
Bike Fed commends Rick, the program team, school, and city of Oshkosh for nurturing both the heads and hearts of students for the future of cycling and a positive society. Best wishes to all the participants of Communities at Oshkosh North and BikeOsh 2022!